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Custom program developed for Health Science leaders

Health Sciences Leadership Series

A program designed to improve the leadership capabilities and communication skills of Health Sciences faculty members.

Visit the Faculty of Health Sciences website to register.

By Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer

Health Sciences faculty members spend years training for their roles as educators, researchers and scholars. In many cases, though, there aren'™t the same opportunities to develop specific skills required for their administrative and managerial duties.

The Office of Faculty Development in the Faculty of Health Sciences aims to change that by collaborating with the Human Resources Department on a new management development program. The Health Sciences Leadership Series will launch this September with the first cohort of 30 participants completing six full-day sessions throughout 2014-15.

"This program is modelled after one that myself and a number of other faculty had the opportunity to take several years ago," says Tony Sanfilippo, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education, Faculty of Health Sciences. "In retrospect, the content has proven to be highly relevant and practical. The Health Sciences Leadership Series will be invaluable to any faculty members charged with administrative responsibilities or curricular development."

Human Resources designed the program specifically for Health Sciences faculty members. The material will cover challenges, situations and conflicts they will encounter in their day-to-day work. Dr. Sanfilippo says participants will gain a deeper understanding of their leadership capabilities, expand their communication skills, enhance their project management skills, and improve their ability to build relationships both within and outside their department.

The Health Sciences Leadership Series will be invaluable to any faculty members charged with administrative responsibilities or curricular development.

Tony Sanfilippo, Associate Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences.

With the Health Sciences Leadership Series, Queen's Human Resources Department continues to expand its leadership development programming. The department has offered a similar program for non-academic managers since 2009.

"œWe are excited to partner with the Faculty of Health Sciences to extend this valuable leadership training to their faculty members," says Al Orth, Associate Vice-Principal, Human Resources. "We are hopeful that the positive outcomes of this series will result in opportunities to work with other faculties on similar programs in the future."

The series has the added benefit of meeting the accreditation criteria for two professional organizations. It is an accredited group learning activity for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The program also meets the accreditation criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Online registration is now open with the first session slated to take place Sept. 16. More information is available on the Faculty of Health Sciences website or by contacting Shannon Hill, Learning Development Specialist, Human Resources, at ext. 74175.
 

New mDETECT blood test helps with earlier cancer detection and better treatment

Queen’s researcher Christopher Mueller has developed a breast cancer detection test that provides real time response to chemotherapy and early detection of relapse.

[Photo of Lauren Michelberger processing a blood sample from the lung cancer mDETECT project, PIPEN]
Lauren Michelberger, fourth-year thesis student in biochemistry, processing a blood sample from the lung cancer mDETECT project, PIPEN. (Supplied photo.)

Last year the Canadian Cancer Society reported that breast cancer was the leading cancer diagnosis for women and the second most prevalent type of cancer diagnosis across the country. While new cases were still in the tens of thousands, the report indicated some positive progress with new diagnoses trending downward and the survival rate of breast cancer significantly increasing over the past few decades. A critical factor in continuing this momentum to beat cancer is early detection and treatment.

[Photo of Dr. Christopher Mueller]
Dr. Christopher Mueller (Queen's Cancer Research Institute).

A team of researchers at Queen’s University, led by Dr. Christopher Mueller (Queen’s Cancer Research Institute), have developed a new detection and characterization method based on the presence of circulating tumour DNA in the blood called mDETECT (methylation DETEction of Circulating Tumour DNA). Using a liquid biopsy (a blood test), the team has developed a method that is a more sensitive means of detecting and monitoring the presence of cancer. This innovation was recently published in Nature Precision Oncology based on their study examining women with metastatic breast cancer, specifically Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) who are undergoing active therapy for their disease.

"TNBC makes up about 20 per cent of all breast cancers and it is often more aggressive than other types of breast cancer, and it is the type of cancer that women who are carriers of the BRCA1 mutation tend to develop, so that is why we decided to start with this type of cancer," says Dr. Mueller. "What is great about this study is that we had a lot of collaboration both locally and with the Curie Institute in France."

The project began while Dr. Mueller was on sabbatical in 2014 and 2016 at the Curie Institute in France with its Circulating Biomarkers group. Following funding from the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, Dr. Mueller was able to begin development of the mDETECT test at Queen’s while using patient blood samples from the Curie Institute. Many of these samples had been previously analyzed by other tests, providing a database for Dr. Mueller and his team to compare the performance of mDETECT to previous mutation-based assays. Kingston was also the location of his control group for the study. Funding from Breast Cancer Action Kingston allowed for the recruitment of 100 local women, who did not have cancer, to donate their blood and help determine the validity and usefulness of the test.

"As advocates for a group of breast cancer patients and survivors, Breast Cancer Action Kingston (BCAK) is proud to have been an essential part of this research," says Lynne Funnell, President of BCAK. "We welcome any and all research that leads to the early detection and subsequent early treatment of breast cancer."

The mDETECT test allows for real time monitoring of a patient’s response to chemotherapy to optimize the treatment. It also supports the early detection of relapse as the success of therapy is much higher if the disease is caught earlier. For patients with TNBC, which is often resistant to specific chemotherapeutic agents, this test can determine if the treatment is working much faster and more sensitively than conventional methods ensuring the best treatment is being given.

"If the signal in women without cancer is low enough, this test could be used for earlier detection of cancer, potentially replacing screening mammography," says Dr. Mueller.

The impact of this innovation could be game-changing in cancer diagnostics. Dr. Mueller and his team have already developed eight mDETECT tests for different cancers, including uveal melanoma, prostate, pancreatic, and lung, the most prevalent cancer diagnosis in 2020. His students are also helping to advance the research, with fourth-year undergraduate and graduate students using the mDETECT development in their own research projects. Dr. Mueller hopes to expand his research to the list of frequent and lethal cancers and to include all types of breast cancer, as well as make the test even more sensitive allowing for earlier detection.

Through Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation (QPI), Dr. Mueller is working to license this healthcare innovation so it can be put into practice, with its added benefit as an economical alternative to current methods. There are several large corporate players in this field, with the largest company, GRAIL, attracting over $2 billion in funding.

For more information, read Dr. Mueller’s article "A DNA Methylation Based Liquid Biopsy for Triple Negative Breast Cancer" in Nature Precision Oncology and his contribution to Behind the Paper from the Nature Portfolio Cancer Community.

Supporting big research ideas

The Government of Canada announces support for Queen's researchers through the federal funding agencies and the Canada Research Chair program.

Over 125 Queen’s researchers across disciplines have received support that will advance discovery, innovation, and collaboration in their research programs. Today, The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (ISED), announced a bundled research announcement under the theme "Supporting BIG ideas!", meant to continue the Government’s historic investments in support of a strong and vibrant world-leading research ecosystem.

The bundled announcement includes funding from a variety of programs under the umbrellas of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Canada Research Chairs program. More than $635 million is being invested in scholars across Canada through new grants or grant extensions.

"We are proud to continue investing in, and celebrating, the creativity and innovation that are at the heart of Canada’s research ecosystem," says Minister Champagne. "It is inspiring to see the ingenuity and dedication Canadian researchers embrace in exploring big ideas that will fuel the discoveries and innovations of tomorrow to make our world a better place and create prosperity for Canadians."

The funding will advance the research continuum from fundamental to applied scholarship at Queen’s. In addition to pandemic-related projects, these investments will support emerging and ongoing research in areas of critical importance, such as precision medicine, military family health, particle physics, climate change, citizenship and social justice, chronic pain, and gender, race, and inclusive policies. For more information on each of the funding programs and the Queen’s recipients please see below:

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

The goal of SSHRC’s Insight program is to build knowledge and understanding about people, societies, and the world by supporting research excellence in all subject areas eligible for SSHRC funding. Insight grants provide stable support for long-term research initiatives, while the Insight Development grants support research in its initial stages. The grants enable the development of research questions, as well as experimentation with new methods, theoretical approaches, and/or ideas.

Partnership Development grants provide support for new and existing formal partnerships over four to seven years to advance research, research training, and/or knowledge mobilization in the social sciences and humanities. Partnership funding is intended for formal partnerships between postsecondary institutions and/or organizations of various types.

SSHRC Partnership Development Grants 2020

Principal Investigator Affiliation Project Title
Heather Aldersey School of Rehabilitation Therapy Redefining the social contract: Rebalancing formal and natural support for people with disabilities and their families
Heidi Cramm

School of Rehabilitation Therapy; Psychiatry

Families matter: A partnership of partners to study, serve, and support the families of military, Veterans, and public safety personnel

SSHRC Insight Grants 2020

Principal Investigator Affiliation Project Title
Elizabeth Brulé Gender Studies Decolonizing the academy: Indigenizing the university seven generations in the future
Rosa Bruno-Jofré Education; History Giving the past a new meaning to re-imagine the future in education
Pierre Chaigneau Smith School of Business Too many rewards? Performance shares and the optimal structure of executive pay
Amanda-Mae Cooper Education Social science research funding agencies' support and promotion of knowledge mobilization and research impact: Learning from high impact case studies of collaborative research networks
Theresa Claire Davies Mechanical and Materials Engineering A Delphi Study to advance research on accessibility standards for augmentative and alternative communication
Anthony Goerzen Smith School of Business Improving global value chain governance
Kerah Gordon-Solmon Philosophy Duties, constraints, prerogatives, and permissions: Or, how to defend lesser-evil options
Oded Haklai Political Studies Population settlements and territorial control
Fiona Kay Sociology Paralegals and access to justice: Regulation, job rewards, and legal services during COVID-19 pandemic
Benjamin Kutsyuruba Education Understanding the well-being capacity of pre-service teachers
Susan Lord Film and Media; Art History; Gender Studies; Cultural Studies Under the shadow of empire: Minor archives and radical media distribution in the Americas
David McDonald Global Development Studies; Geography and Planning; School of Environmental Studies Public Banks + Public Water
Nicole Myers Sociology Risky decisions: Professional judgement, public safety and the bail decision
Steven Salterio Smith School of Business Understanding the extant and nature of replication research in social sciences: The case of accounting research
Marcus Taylor Global Development Studies; Sociology; School of Environmental Studies Can climate-resilient crops transform smallholder agriculture? A comparative sociological analysis
Veikko Thiele Smith School of Business; Economics Scale-up Ecosystems: Theory and Empirical Evidence
Grégoire Webber Law; Philosophy Recovering the good in law

Canada Research Chairs

Part of a national strategy to attract and retain leading and promising minds, the Canada Research Chairs program aims to make Canada one of the world's top countries in research and development. The program invests approximately $265 million per year to attract and retain some of the world's most accomplished and promising researchers. Queen’s is currently home to 51 Canada Research Chairs across a variety of disciplines.

Canada Research Chair (CRC) Renewals

Name Affiliation Status Research Area
Heather Castleden Geography and Planning; Gender Studies Tier 2 - CRC in Reconciling Relations for Health, Environments, and Communities Applying Indigenous and Western knowledge systems to research involving social and environmental justice and health equity: this research aims to create healthier relationships between Indigenous peoples and Settler (non-Indigenous) Canadians by advancing recognition, responsibility, and reconciliation in community-driven and participatory ways.
Philip Jessop Chemistry Tier 1 - CRC in Green Chemistry Using carbon dioxide as a “trigger” for “switchable materials” able to change from one form to another: this research will make industry safer and more environmentally-benign through the reuse of waste carbon dioxide gas.
Mark Ormiston Biomedical and Molecular Sciences; Medicine; Surgery Tier 2 - CRC in Regenerative Cardiovascular Medicine The study of Natural Killer (NK) cells in the development of diseases such as pulmonary arterial hypertension: this research could lead to the creation of new immune-based treatments that could reverse changes made in a person’s lungs.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

The Discovery program supports ongoing research with long-term goals. These multi-year grants recognize the creativity and innovation that are at the heart of all research advances. Discovery program grants are considered “grants in aid” of research, as they provide long-term operating funds and can facilitate access to funding from other programs, but are not meant to support the full costs of a research program.

Notably, Cathy Crudden (Chemistry), Canada Research Chair in Metal Organic Chemistry, received the largest Discovery grant in Canada (valued at $605k over five years)  for her project Nanoclusters, nanoparticles, and surfaces: Bridging the gap between homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis. 

NSERC Discovery Program Grants 2020/2021

Principal Investigator Affiliation Project Title
Furkan Alaca School of Computing Securing user authentication in emerging threat landscapes
Brian Amsden Chemical Engineering Aliphatic polycarbonates: Building blocks for new biodegradable biomaterials
Levente Balogh Mechanical and Materials Engineering Structure-property relations of materials having complex microstructures generated by radiation damage and additive manufacturing
Sameh Basta Biomedical and Molecular Sciences M2a macrophage activation and the regulation of immune functions
Albrecht Birk Mechanical and Materials Engineering Safe transport and storage of pressure liquefied hazardous materials
Amanda Bongers Chemistry Cognition in chemistry: Exploring how the brain encodes and manipulates scientific models
Joseph Bramante Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy Astroparticle theory for dark sectors
Chantelle Capicciotti Chemistry; Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Chemical biology tools for probing and discovering glycan-protein interactions
Pascale Champagne Civil Engineering; Chemical Engineering Photosynthetically-enhanced eco-engineered treatment systems
Che Colpitts Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Membrane rearrangement by positive-sense RNA viruses: Molecular mechanisms and cellular responses
Cathleen Crudden Chemistry

Nanoclusters, nanoparticles, and surfaces: Bridging the gap between homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis

Critical replacement of super critical fluid HPLC for chiral separations

Variable temperature UV/Vis spectrophotometer for study of NHC-stabilized gold nanoclusters

Michael Cunningham Chemical Engineering; Chemistry Replacing traditional surfactants in the preparation of polymer nanoparticles
Mark Daymond Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy; Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Effect of local microstructure on cracking of materials for next generation reactors

Characterising irradiation induced damage and phase changes

Kevin Deluzio Mechanical and Materials Engineering Tools for the biomechanical analysis of human movement
George diCenzo Biology Gene networks of Sinorhizobium meliloti
Marc Dignam Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy Nonlinear and quantum optics in two-dimensional materials and nanophotonic systems
Steven Honghui Ding School of Computing Assistant professor
Juergen Dingel School of Computing Model-driven engineering for distributed, reliable, adaptive, web-based software
Cao Thang Dinh Chemical Engineering Electrode engineering for carbon dioxide electroreduction to fuels and chemicals
Paul Duchesne Chemistry Earth-abundant heterogeneous catalysts for the synthesis of renewable fuels
Christopher Eckert Biology Ecology & evolution of species range limits
Dixia Fan Mechanical and Materials Engineering Physics-informed (and -informative) reinforcement learning and bio-inspired design of a smart morphing flapping wing for dual aerial/aquatic-propulsion and maneuvering
Laura Fissel Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy Understanding the role of magnetic fields in star and planet formation using stratospheric balloon-borne polarimeters
Luis Flores Psychology Brain function and real-world choice and effectiveness of intrapersonal and social forms of emotion regulation
Georgia Fotopoulous Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering Fusion of heterogeneous geosensing observations for enhanced site characterization
Jason Gallivan Psychology; Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Human functional neuroimaging stimulus presentation and data collection system for studies of action, perception and decision-making
Jun Gao Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy Surfaces and interfaces of luminescent polymer mixed ionic/electronic conductors
Charlotte Gibson Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining

Surface analysis for the concentration and extraction of metals using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy

Concentrating minerals critical to energy storage applications from Canadian hard rock deposits

Guillaume Giroux Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy NEWS-G search for light dark matter with spherical proportional counters
Sidney Givigi School of Computing Safe adaptive social cyber physical systems
Farnaz Heidar-Zadeh Chemistry Theoretical chemical design with machine learning: Model development and applications
Tom Hollenstein Psychology Integrated psychophysiology and observational system for synchronous measurement and analysis
Neil Hoult Civil Engineering Reimagined environmentally-friendly (RE-Design) of reinforced concrete infrastructure
Graeme Howe Chemistry Tracing enzyme mechanisms across evolution to elucidate the origins of enzymatic catalysis
Stephen Hughes Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy Dissipative mode theories and reservoir engineering in quantum nanophotonics
Robin Hutchinson Chemical Engineering Measurement and modeling of polymerization kinetics for process and product development
Judith Irwin Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy From galaxy to intergalactic medium -- the magnetic connection in the age of the square kilometre array
Shideh Kabiri Ameri Abootorabi Electrical and Computer Engineering High performance visually imperceptible on-skin sensors and electronics based on nanomaterials
Frederick Kan Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Oviductal regulation of gamete interaction and reproductive function
Sadan Kelebek Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining Investigations on the separation of metal-bearing values from secondary sources in the production of value-added products
Il Yong Kim Mechanical and Materials Engineering System, layout, and topology optimization for automotive and aerospace design
Marianna Kontopoulou Chemical Engineering Environmentally friendly and scalable processes for the production of graphene and applications in advanced functional materials and technologies
Ehssan Koupaie Chemical Engineering Techniques for enhanced anaerobic digestion and bioenergy and conversion of pulp and paper sludge
Valerie Kuhlmeier Psychology Cognitive origins of ownership concepts
Yanzhe Lei Smith School of Business Real-time dynamic optimization for omnichannel retailers
Guang Li Smith School of Business Revenue management and policy design in the presence of customer multi-item shopping behavior
Qingguo Li Mechanical and Materials Engineering Biomechanical energy harvesting: Optimization, control and biomechanics
Hok Kan Ling Mathematics and Statistics Shape-constrained inference: Testing and estimation for incomplete survival data
Alexander Little Biology Mechanisms and costs of adaptive plasticity in a starlet anemone (Nematostella Vectensis) model
Christopher Lohans Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Mechanistic enzymology of beta-lactam antibiotic resistance mechanisms and target proteins
Alan Lomax Medicine; Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Analysis of the vagal afferent innervation of the mouse colon
Stephen Lougheed Biology

Digital PCR infrastructure to enhance research and HQP training in biology

High performance computing infrastructure for evolutionary biology, spatial ecology, and conservation biology

Giusy Mazzone Mathematics and Statistics Partially dissipative systems with applications to fluid-solid interaction problems
Kim McAuley Chemical Engineering Combining fundamental models with data
Chris McGlory School of Kinesiology and Health Studies Mechanisms underlying the regulation of human skeletal muscle protein turnover by omega-3 fatty acids
Jordan Morelli Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy Applied magnetics - nuclear fusion
Michele Morningstar Psychology Development of neural and cognitive processing of peers' nonverbal cues in adolescence
Parvin Mousavi School of Computing Learning algorithms for predictive modeling in biomedical computing: Methods and applications
Christian Muise School of Computing Advanced techniques for action model solicitation, verification, and induction
Kevin Mumford Civil Engineering Contaminant transport and remediation in dynamic gas-and-groundwater systems
Ram Murty Mathematics and Statistics Zeta functions and probability theory
Sara Nabil School of Computing

Advanced techniques for everyday embodied interaction

E-textiles digital design and fabrication

Guy Narbonne Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering When life got big - Ediacaran evolution in a period of profound global change
Jianbing Ni Electrical and Computer Engineering Secure and privacy-preserving edge caching in next-generation mobile networks
Jean-Michel Nunzi Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy; Chemistry Life-mimetic nano-photonics
Gema Olivo Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering Mineral resources in basins: Base metal ore systems and footprint
Mary Olmstead Psychology Immune-reward interactions: Contributions of the endocannabinoid system
Christopher Omelon Geography and Planning Impacts of talik microbial geochemistry on a changing permafrost landscape
Diane Orihel Biology; School of Environmental Studies A new ecological framework for adverse outcomes of contaminants on ecosystems: Microplastics as a case study
Patrick Oosthuizen Mechanical and Materials Engineering Numerical and experimental studies of steady and unsteady natural and mixed convective heat transfer from horizontal and inclined surfaces of complex shape
Anna Panchenko Biomedical and Molecular Sciences; Pathology and Molecular Medicine; School of Computing Deciphering the mechanisms of modulation of DNA accessibility in chromatin: Discovery of novel pioneer transcription factors
Sarah Jane Payne Civil Engineering Elucidating drinking water quality deterioration in premise plumbing
David Reed Medicine Inhibition of visceral sensation by cannabinoids in the gastrointestinal tract
David Rival Mechanical and Materials Engineering High-speed, plane-wave ultrasound imaging for Lagrangian particle tracking
Matthew Robertson Mechanical and Materials Novel robot actuators leveraging the molecular mechanics and topology of biological muscle
Nir Rotenberg Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Frontiers of nonlinear quantum optics: From fundamentals to technology

Ultra-coherent lasers for the exploration of quantum photonic nonlinearities

Karen Rudie Electrical and Computer Engineering Keeping secrets: Realizing the potential of decentralized discrete-event systems
Sarah Sadavoy Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy The role of magnetic fields in forming stars, disks, and planets
Yuksel Asli Sari Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining Innovative dynamic short-term, medium-term and long-term mine planning strategies incorporating new automation and data analytics technologies
Jessica Selinger School of Kinesiology and Health Studies; Mechanical and Materials Engineering A lower-limb exoskeleton system for investigating the neuromechanical control of human locomotion and designing assistive robotic aids
Bhavin Shastri Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy Neurophotonic-electronic brain-machine interface system
Zhe She Chemistry Probing molecular interactions of soft surfaces by scanning probe microscopy
Amber Simpson School of Computing; Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Integrated computational modeling of multi-scale biomedical data
Gregory Smith Mathematics and Statistics Combination algebraic geometry
Yanglei Song Mathematics and Statistics Sequential decision making under uncertainty: Fundamental limits and applications
Sameh Sorour School of Computing Enabling intelligence on multi-access edge networks with heterogeneous resources
Christopher Spencer Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering Constraining the interplay of geodynamics with the biosphere and atmosphere across the Archean-Proterozoic boundary
Patrick Stroman Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Functional MRI investigation of spinal cord resting-state networks and their physiological relevance
Myron Szewczuk Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Nobel biased G-protein coupled receptor-signalling paradigm regulating growth factor and pathogen-sensing receptors
William Take Civil Engineering Landslide triggering, mobility, and monitoring in a changing climate
David Thomson Mathematics and Statistics Statistical spectrum estimation and solar gravity modes
Aaron Vincent Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy Discovering the dark sector with astroparticle phenomenology
Bas Vriens Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering Sustainable mine waste management: From microscale hydrogeochemical processes to macroscale prediction models
Jeffrey Wammes Psychology Mechanisms underlying learning-related representational reorganization
Robert Way Geography and Planning Susceptibility of peatland permafrost in coastal Labrador to future environmental change
Peng Wang Chemistry; Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy Discovery and development of crystalline radiation detection materials
Joshua Woods Civil Engineering

System-level multi-element analysis of structures using hybrid-simulation (SMASH) lab

High-performance structural systems for seismic protection and resilience of built infrastructure

Gang Wu Chemistry Development of new 17O NMR spectroscopic techniques for studying biological systems
Sarah Yakimowski Biology The evolution of herbicide resistance
Laurence Yang Chemical Engineering Learning models of metabolism and gene expression from biological big data
Scott Yam Electrical and Computer Engineering Intelligent fiber sensors via digital signal processing and machine learning
Mohammad Zulkernine School of Computing Building and monitoring security in emerging softwarized systems

For more information on the Government of Canada’s Support BIG Ideas announcement, please visit the website.

Celebrating Queen’s spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation

Queen’s receives the Deshpande Symposium Award for The Entrepreneurial University for its curriculum innovation and student engagement.

Every Spring, the Deshpande Foundation hosts the Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education, which brings together academics, policy planners, practitioners, business incubators, and foundations to discuss best practices in integrating entrepreneurship throughout their college and university communities.

At this year’s virtual gathering, Queen’s University received the Deshpande Symposium Award for The Entrepreneurial University. This award celebrates an institution that demonstrates excellence in entrepreneurship-related curriculum innovation and student engagement.

"Entrepreneurship has become an important means by which we fulfill our obligations of positive societal impact, to the regional community in which it is embedded, and in global society," says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor.

Queen’s was unanimously voted as the 2021 recipient of this honour for fostering a culture of innovation throughout its many curricular and extra-curricular offerings.

Curricular Offerings in Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The university’s academic and curricular programs of study make entrepreneurship and innovation a priority at all levels. Undergraduate and graduate students across Queen’s are exposed to entrepreneurship and related topics in a broad range of sectors across disciplines. Some courses engage students in team-based venture projects in for-profits contexts, while others, like the Arts and Science "Dean’s Changemaker" courses ASCX200/300, give them opportunities to identify and pursue entrepreneurial solutions to pressing societal problems. The Dean’s Changemaker program supported 12 students in its pilot run and is expected to grow to 50 students per year.

Curricular delivery prioritizes interdisciplinarity. The Certificate in Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Creativity (CEIC), offered by the Dan School of Drama and Music, is taught not only by faculty from the Dan School but also from the Smith School of Business and the faculties of Arts and Science and Engineering and Applied Science. These pan-university partnerships persist even at senior levels of education and training. The blended format Master of Management of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MMIE), for example, is a joint collaboration between Business and Engineering and offers networking opportunities with other programs across campus. Since its inception five years ago, 420 students representing 25 countries globally have completed the program, which now accepts 114 students/cohort. MMIE participants have created 89 start-ups and scale-ups, collectively raising $750,000 and employing 112 people. By placing a strong emphasis on interdisciplinarity, Queen’s has been able to increase each individual unit’s capacity for providing immersive programming, thereby fostering development of entrepreneurial mindsets.

[Photo of the QICSI 2019 cohort at Mitchell Hall]
The 2019 Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) cohort at Mitchell Hall.

Co- and Extra-Curricular Offerings in Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The university also offers numerous co- and extra-curricular opportunities in entrepreneurship and innovation, many of which are provided and/or coordinated through the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) and Queen’s University’s Partnerships and Innovation (QPI). DDQIC was founded in 2012, following a significant gift jointly provided by distinguished alumni Andrew Dunin, Sc ’83, MBA ‘87, and his wife Anne Dunin, ArtSci ‘83, and Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande, PhD ‘79, and his wife Jaishree Deshpande. 

DDQIC collaborates with schools and faculties, assisting in the development and delivery of many co-curricular programs across campus. The centre runs the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI), a 16-week full-time program in which participants complete a two-week boot camp and receive seed capital to found and build ventures. Since 2012, DDQIC has mentored 460 changemakers in QICSI and helped students launch and grow 200 ventures, 50% of which are still in operation, including Mosaic Manufacturing, CleanSlate UV, and RockMass Technologies. The part-time DDQIC QyourVenture program operates year-long and supports early stage start-ups by providing foundation and mentorship. Furthermore, DDQIC prioritizes innovators and leaders from underrepresented groups through its Konnect program for women entrepreneurs and the Jim Leech MasterCard Foundation Fellowship for young African entrepreneurs. 

QPI supports programming through workshops targeting thematic areas and groups (e.g. health, research-based graduate students) and in sector-targeted and IP/commercialization-advising roles. It provides an accelerator facility for growing ventures, complementing DDQIC’s QICSI, and offers linkages to other ecosystems, notably the Kingston-Syracuse Pathway in Health Innovation, Invest Ottawa, the Toronto-based Technology Innovation Accelerator Program, and L-Spark. Since 2014, QPI has supported 300 entrepreneurs and 150 ventures.

Student engagement extends beyond Queen’s as DDQIC, QPI, and their partner organizations deliver entrepreneurship-geared educational outreach programs, providing translational career and leadership skills to high school students in the Kingston area and globally.

The university received the award as part of a ceremony on June 10, 2021.  

Training Canada’s future health data workforce

With $1.6 million in funding, NSERC’s CREATE program is supporting the implementation of an experiential graduate training and research program in medical informatics at Queen’s.

[Photo of Parvin Mousavi]
Dr. Parvin Mousavi (Computing) is the Director of Queen's new CREATE Training Program in Medical Informatics.

Queen’s researcher Parvin Mousavi (Computing) and her co-investigators have been awarded $1.6 million in funding over six years as part of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s (NSERC) Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program. The fund supports the training and mentoring of students and post-doctoral fellows in developing academic and industry skills in areas such as research, communications, and collaboration. The objective is to encourage collaborative and integrative approaches to addressing Canada’s research priorities while also fostering job readiness skills for trainees across sectors.

Leaders in their fields
This unique CREATE program is led by 11 leading research experts in computing, machine learning, medical and imaging informatics, data analytics, software systems, and surgery. In addition to Dr. Mousavi, they include Drs. Randy Ellis, Gabor Fichtinger, Ting Hu, John Rudan, Amber Simpson, David Pichora, Yuan Tian, Boris Zevin, and investigators at Western University, Drs. Aaron Fenster and Sarah Mattonen.

Dr. Mousavi’s CREATE grant will support a training program in medical informatics, preparing Canada’s workforce to handle the health data of tomorrow. Since 2017 at least 86 per cent of family physicians in Canada use Electronic Medical Records, generating vast digital health data at an exponential rate. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated on a global scale the significance of digital health data and its interpretation to decision-making at all levels of healthcare. In fact, the pandemic has led to an acceleration on the part of the federal and provincial governments in Canada to invest in digital-first health strategies and high-performance computing platforms. The CREATE program will aim to further leverage data-driven decision-making in current and future public health responses.

Canada is not alone in the rapid accumulation of digital health data. By 2050, the global markets for artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare and medical informatics are forecasted to grow to a combined $134 billion. Just to meet Canada’s immediate needs, the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) predicts at least 120,000 skilled workers in computational sciences will be required by 2023 to support the health and biotechnology sector alone. Currently, most graduate computer science programs in Canada follow a course+thesis model where there is limited access to training and field experience in machine learning for healthcare informatics. With Dr. Mousavi’s leadership, Queen’s will be home to a unique CREATE program providing comprehensive training in medical informatics, experiential learning, and skills development to prepare students for careers in this rapidly developing sector. 

"We aim to solidify Canada’s competitive advantage in the global space through concerted efforts to train computer scientists with specialized multi-disciplinary experience in medical informatics and digital health, and engage diverse groups and experiences in our training," says Dr. Mousavi. "Our aim is to not just train students for jobs immediately after graduation but prepare them for success throughout their careers."

Dr. Mousavi and her co-investigators have collaboratively developed the NSERC CREATE training program in consultation with key industry and government stakeholders to augment the course+thesis model with opportunities for experiential learning, practicums, mentorship, and competency-based training to help students gain these critically needed skillsets. During the program, students will have training opportunities with extensive real-world clinical data through partnerships with the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Ontario Health Data Platform, and the Canadian Cancer Trials Group at Queen’s. The program also leverages partnerships with Western University and Kingston Health Sciences Centre, and collaborations with industry and academia including the Vector Institute alongside Queen’s-based research infrastructure and expertise at the Centre for Advanced Computing, the Human Mobility Research Centre, and KGH Research Institute.

The NSERC CREATE grant is just the beginning, with Dr. Mousavi and her co-investigators already planning for long-term sustainability of the program. Through the advancement of partnerships, establishment of courses and micro-credentials, and development of research projects and funding, they aim to continue the comprehensive training program following the grant and help build a hub of excellence in healthcare informatics and data analysis at Queen’s.

"Congratulations to Dr. Mousavi and her co-investigators on securing this competitive funding that advances connections between research and training opportunities," says Kimberly Woodhouse, Vice-Principal (Research). "The program builds on an area of institutional interdisciplinary strength and will help position Canada to leverage heath data in decision- and policy-making."

For more information on projects and recruitment, visit the program website or email infoMedICREATE@cs.queensu.ca.

For more information on the CREATE program and training opportunities, visit the NSERC website

How to respond to the moral distress of the COVID-19 pandemic

The Conversation: To live well through and beyond the pandemic, we need to recognize the moral distress experienced by people, and especially health-care workers.

A health care worker sits on the floor and holds her head
Health-care professions like nursing are at risk of experiencing a post-pandemic exodus of workers due to burnout and moral distress. (Shutterstock)

The stories we hear and tell help us make meaning of our lives in the world. We communicate our thoughts and feelings, share knowledge and begin dialogue about things that matter.

Moral distress occurs when our core values are threatened or compromised, when we know what ethical action is called for and feel powerless to take it. As a nurse and an ethicist and spiritual care provider, we have witnessed the symptoms of moral distress in our clinical, administrative and academic work.

The ConversationIn health care, moral distress can be caused by external pressures such as policy guidelines or limited resources or internal factors such as self-doubt or fear of conflict. When we compromise our core values, we may feel shame, guilt or isolation. And when moral distress is unresolved, health-care workers can experience depression and other mental and spiritual health struggles.

The experience of moral distress among health-care providers has received much attention during the pandemic. In particular, the nursing profession anticipates high rates of post-pandemic exodus, almost certainly driven to a substantial degree by accumulated and unresolved moral distress.

Our work examines stories that look at what it means to live well through the COVID-19 pandemic, a grander story that is unprecedented in our lifetimes.

Moral distress stories

Early in the pandemic, the promise of returning to normal was tied to the development of a vaccine. At that time, there was little conversation about the challenges of vaccinating enough people to ensure herd immunity. Nor was there conversation about access, equity and staging of vaccination rollout.

Drawing from our own experience and research, we found that questions about the socio-political context of vaccination programs are rampant and complex. The following examples — developed from our experience and research findings — demonstrate how these challenges manifest in daily life.

Lin and her partner received early vaccination due to her partner’s chronic medical condition. As his primary care giver, Lin “jumped the queue” and got an early vaccine. She knows someone with diabetes who has not had their first dose and who lives in the hot spot of Peel Region, just east of Toronto. Was it right that Lin got hers before them?

Lin highly values her family. However, by using her privileged knowledge of the health care system to “jump the vaccine queue,” Lin fears that she compromised her value of caring for all people, especially those who are marginalized. As a result, she feels shame.

Sam followed the directive that the “first vaccine is the best vaccine.” They got the AstraZeneca vaccine. And now, months later, as they watched several provinces withdraw the vaccine for use as a first dose, Sam wonders: “What will happen next? Did I do the right thing or did I not take adequate responsibility for my health? Will my second dose be a different kind of vaccine? What are the risks? And what will happen to all that unused vaccine?”

Sam values informed consent and individual responsibility, and has feelings of regret over blindly accepting the first vaccine. Their confidence in science is dwindling. Sam feels powerlessness.

an illustration of a standing man with a wiry shadow attached to him
Feelings of being overwhelmed and experiencing frustration and helplessness can cause moral distress in health-care workers and others. (Shutterstock)

Both Sam and Lin question their core value of global social justice as they watch Canada backing away from the AstraZeneca vaccine in favour of other options.

To live well through this pandemic, we need to understand three things about experiences of moral distress:

1. Moral distress can affect everyone

Events and circumstances during this pandemic have routinely stretched and challenged core values. Not only are people experiencing the mental distress of living in a pandemic, but these feelings are often being compounded by the violation of people’s core values.

When people feel shame, they feel too embarrassed to tell anyone what they fear they have done. So they become increasingly isolated — on top of pandemic isolation. They feel they have damaged the core of their being.

To live well through this pandemic, we need to recognize that feelings of moral uncertainty and distress are normal and real.

2. Moral distress can produce both negative and positive outcomes

Unresolved moral distress can be debilitating. Paradoxically, it can help us to develop moral resiliency — the ability to maintain one’s moral integrity in trying situations, which requires experiences of moral adversity. When we practise standing up for what we believe, we can become better able to stand strong in the future. We can also become clearer about what our core values are such as family, caring, social justice, health or relationships.

The relationships that we find in community can help us to explore how to process moral uncertainty.

To live well through this pandemic we need to have our moral stories witnessed and normalized.

3. Moral distress can prompt self-reflection

Good things can come from moral adversity. Education about ethics is crucial including learning about core values and finding words to express core values. Studies show that understanding the language around ethics may be a significant factor in helping people resolve moral distress.

Take time to explore your core values. To live well through the pandemic is to know that our choices aren’t ideal and our knowledge is not complete.

We must look beyond ourselves to understand the values of others and the reality we face together.The Conversation

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Deborah Tregunno, Associate Professor, School of Nursing, Queen's University, Ontario and Tracy J. Trothen, Professor of Ethics, School of Religion and School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen's University, Ontario

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca.

Celebrating the Class of 2021

Queen’s congratulates graduates on success in the face of unprecedented challenges.

Another academic year at Queen’s is now complete and more than 5,800 students have a big reason to celebrate, now that they have officially graduated. To help mark these achievements, the university is sharing a video message to offer congratulations to graduates and highlight their achievements and perseverance in the face of challenges posed by COVID-19.

“These have been unprecedented times, and very difficult times in which to bring an end to your course of study,” says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, in his remarks. “That you’ve done so in such circumstances is remarkable, and therefore all the more admirable and deserving of our congratulations.”

With strict public health measures still in place in Ontario, on-site convocation events have had to be postponed, with plans to offer in-person ceremonies later once guidelines permit. As vaccination programs continue across the country, and return to campus planning well underway, Queen’s is hopeful that ceremonies missed in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic can be held.

“I’m so honoured to be able to offer you my most sincere congratulations on the completion of your degree at Queen’s,” says Kanonhsyonne Janice Hill, Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation), who joined Principal Deane in the video. “It’s been a very challenging year, but you persevered and succeeded. You should be very proud of yourself for doing so.”

While opportunities to host future in-person ceremonies are explored, graduates can expect to receive their diplomas by mail in the coming weeks, and the names of conferred degree recipients are being shared online by the Office of the University Registrar marking their official graduation. Several faculties and schools are planning virtual events or gestures of recognition in the near term.

“I’m so pleased to celebrate the successful conclusion to your studies and recognize your earned degree, diploma or certificate,” Chancellor Jim Leech says, making the final congratulatory remarks in the video.  “You should be proud of your accomplishment and that you are now a full-fledged Queen’s alum.”

For more information on Spring 2021 graduation, please visit the office of the University Registrar's website.

Funding new frontiers in research

The New Frontiers in Research Fund supports six innovative and interdisciplinary projects at Queen’s.

Six research projects at Queen’s have received funding from the New Frontiers in Research Fund’s (NFRF) 2020 Exploration competition, a program that encourages scholars to take risks, and that fosters discoveries and innovations that could have significant impacts on our world.

Queen’s researchers will receive $1.5 million ($250,000 per project) from the fund to advance interdisciplinary projects with multiple partners and collaborators. Nationally, the NFRF competition will provide $14.5 million in grants to researchers across Canada, funding 117 projects.

The Exploration competition results will support a wide range of research projects at the university, from creating interactive museum artifacts using digital fabrication methods to breakthroughs in brain injury therapy. Listed below are the funded projects:

  • With growing demand for cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly energy sources, nuclear energy may be a viable option to power both remote and on-grid communities. Small modular reactors (SMR) are scaled-down, flexible models of traditional nuclear plants, and many models rely on molten salts to transport thermal energy created by nuclear fission. However, materials performance in molten salt environments is poorly studied. Mark Daymond (Mechanical and Materials Engineering), Suraj Persaud (Mechanical and Materials Engineering), and collaborators will lead experiments evaluating materials in molten salts in the presence of radiation, a breakthrough for implementation of SMR technology globally.
     
  • Debate rages as Kingston struggles with the legacy of its most famous former resident, Sir John A. Macdonald, and his actions against Indigenous peoples whose lands and children were taken. Like communities worldwide, the city is at a historic juncture confronting cultural narratives of racism and dispossession. An interdisciplinary team led by Christine Sypnowich (Philosophy) will examine Kingston as a case study to address the social exclusion and historical trauma inherent in current understandings of heritage. Uniting conceptual investigation, health care practice, and cultural resurgence, the team of Indigenous and settler scholars will consider how community-based art practices can contribute to an inclusive heritage and help enable restorative healing for Indigenous and racialized people.
     
  • Pharmaceuticals have become contaminants of emerging concern through increased presence in the environment through wastewater, causing great risk to ecosystems and human health. A contributor to this issue is wastewater treatment facilities that are unable to eliminate pharmaceutical ingredients and excreted drug metabolites through their operating systems. Bas Vriens (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering) and Martin Petkovich (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) aim to develop new technology that will act as a 'mega-liver', filtering out harmful pharmaceuticals in wastewater treatment facilities in a cost-efficient way to help ensure good health for our communities and environment.
     
  • R. David Andrew (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) is investigating the molecular mechanisms that lead to electrical failure and constriction of blood vessels, a process called spreading depolarization, caused by brain injury. By identifying these mechanisms, the research collaborators will challenge previous knowledge about brain injury therapy and treatments, and propose a method that may prevent loss of brain cells by blocking spreading depolarization, effectively reducing brain damage.
     
  • COVID-19 restrictions have brought about innovative ways to engage in cultural experiences virtually. Leveraging digital fabrication methods, such as 3-D scanning and printing, e-textiles and laser cutting, Sara Nabil (School of Computing) and collaborators will demonstrate how human-computer interaction can expand and enrich interactions with museum collections. The team will develop digital fabrication methods that resemble, complement, or augment traditional art. This breakthrough will make the museum experience more widely available to people with disabilities, those living in remote communities, those impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns and more.
     
  • Tumours that arise throughout the body called neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) cause metastatic disease in up to 50 per cent of patients, giving those diagnosed months to years to survive. However, the molecular basis of highly variable clinical outcomes is poorly understood. Neil Renwick (Pathology and Molecular Medicine), Kathrin Tyryshkin (School of Computing) and collaborators have proposed a radical new way to investigate NENs. The researchers propose using graph neural network models, typically used in computer science, to investigate the gene networks that drive or mediate tumor aggressiveness. The understanding of these molecular social networks may improve accurate knowledge of tumour behaviour and even treatment response, improving NEN clinical outcomes.

The NFRF’s Exploration competition supports research that defies current paradigms, bridges disciplines, or tackles fundamental problems from new perspectives. A key principle of this stream is the recognition that exploring new directions in research carries risk but that these risks are worthwhile, given their potential for significant impact.

“With the support of the NFRF, Queen’s researchers are bringing new ideas and methodologies to critical issues from wastewater treatment to rethinking cultural narratives,” say Kimberly Woodhouse, Vice-Principal (Research). “The potential impact and application of this work will be enhanced and advanced through collaborations that cross disciplinary boundaries.”

The NFRF is an initiative created by the Canada Research Coordinating Committee. It is managed by a tri-agency program on behalf of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. To find out more, visit the website.

Advancing international research collaborations

CIMVHR will be participating in NATO’s Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme to expand research supporting the successful transition and reintegration of military service personnel to civilian life.

Master Corporal Tina Fahie, a member of the Military Police Unit deployed on Operation IMPACT, poses for a photo on September 25, 2020. Credit: Sailor Third Class Melissa Gonzalez
Master Corporal Tina Fahie, a member of the Military Police Unit deployed on Operation IMPACT. (Credit: Sailor Third Class Melissa Gonzalez).

Transitioning out of service is a major turning point in the lives of military personnel. While many have successful experiences, a significant amount face challenging obstacles. In understanding the factors that contribute to a failed military-to-civilian transition (MCT) most of the research has focused on men, leaving a gap in addressing the unique needs of women, particularly around mental health.

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) has recognized the importance of supporting women’s successful MCT as a high-level priority within its member and partner nations. This focus has led to a collaboration with the Queen’s-based Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR), a leader in MCT research over the past decade, through NATO’s Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme. Joined by the Women’s Information Consultative Centre (WICC), researchers, veterans, and policy leaders will participate in a series of consultations and a workshop throughout the year with the purpose of applying a gender lens to MCT research. Focusing on the experiences of women from Ukraine, Canada, and the United States, the goal is to convene leading experts from these countries to translate existing research to policy opportunities and define priorities for new research to advance successful MCT for women.

A launch event marking the start of the collaboration happened on May 19 and reflected the significance and strategic importance of this issue for NATO and the participating lead countries. Representatives delivering remarks included David van Weel, Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at NATO, Ambassador Jacqueline O’Neill, Canada’s Ambassador for Women, Peace, and Security, and Dr. Kateryna Levchenko, Vice-Chair of Gender Equality Commission of Council of Europe and Government Commissioner for Gender Equality Policy of Ukraine.

“Many of our institutions have long thought that being ‘gender neutral’ or ‘gender blind’ was the fair thing to do, and that in fact treating everyone the same was a way of demonstrating respect and fairness,” says Ambassador O’Neill. “Notably, security forces have long prided themselves on treating everyone the same, and this extended to their supports for the eventual military to civilian transition. But the same treatment often does not result in the same outcomes; people have different experiences and different needs. This research will bring needed attention to the range of needs of diverse women veterans and enable governments to better support women through this critical milestone in their careers and lives.”

  • Ambassador Jacqueline O’Neill, Canada’s Ambassador for Women, Peace, and Security delivered a welcome address from Canada at the recent NATO SPS Advanced Research Workshop launching the collaboration.
    Ambassador Jacqueline O’Neill, Canada’s Ambassador for Women, Peace, and Security delivered a welcome address from Canada at the recent NATO SPS Advanced Research Workshop launching the collaboration.
  • Dr. David Pedlar of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) and Ms. Olena Suslova of the Women's Information Consultative Centre (WICC) are co-directors of the NATO SPS Advanced Research Project.
    Dr. David Pedlar of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) and Ms. Olena Suslova of the Women's Information Consultative Centre (WICC) are co-directors of the NATO SPS Advanced Research Project.
  • Attendees of the NATO SPS Advanced Research Workshop included representatives from NATO, government, and participating research institutions, including Principal Patrick Deane and Vice-Principal (Research) Kimberly Woodhouse.
    Attendees of the NATO SPS Advanced Research Workshop included representatives from NATO, government, and participating research institutions, including Principal Patrick Deane and Vice-Principal (Research) Kimberly Woodhouse.

CIMVHR’s participation in the SPS Programme lays a foundation for significant development and application in MCT research. Contributing to NATO’s core goals for more than six decades, the SPS Programme is one of the largest and most important partnership programmes addressing 21st-century security challenges bringing together member and partner nations for high impact. At this stage in MCT research, it is already understood that women can experience unique challenges with their mental health, specifically post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), employment and income, sense of purpose, and reintegration into civilian society and workplace culture in their transition from military service. Furthering this research within the common transition domains of study, such as health, finances, social integration, life skills, housing, and physical, cultural, and social environments, will not only improve the experiences of women but also reveal the support needed specific to sex and gender for successful MCT for all military personnel.

“Working together through the SPS Programme will hopefully serve as a catalyst to not only significantly advance MCT research but lead to further efforts to support NATO’s strategic objectives,” says David Pedlar, Scientific Director, CIMVHR. “This research will also help meet the needs of the Canadian Armed Forces and provide support to Canada’s military service personnel to ensure a continued sense of purpose and good well-being for them and their families when they transition to civilians. Transition is the key point to get that right.”

Over the course of the year, CIMVHR and WICC will facilitate consultations, an advanced research workshop, and develop a report advancing the subject matter area and identifying immediate knowledge for practice. A potential outcome by 2022 will be the establishment of collaborations or linkages amongst the participating nations on several NATO multi-year projects with the goal of advancing science and progress for women.

For more information about CIMVHR, a hub of 46 Canadian universities, including founders Queen’s University and the Royal Military College, and 14 Global Affiliates with a network of researchers from across Canada, visit their website.

Innovating to improve virtual teaching and learning

Queen’s is receiving funding from the Government of Ontario for the creation of digital educational material for students in many different areas of the university.

As the past academic year has shown, digital innovations in teaching and learning can have a powerful effect on both students and instructors. Queen’s will now be developing 32 projects to improve online education at the university thanks to over $2 million in funding from the Government of Ontario's Virtual Learning Strategy (VLS) initiative, which is supported by eCampusOntario.

“Queen’s success in securing Virtual Learning Strategy funding shows the dedication of our faculty and staff to pursuing innovative methods to enhance teaching and learning, especially as the pandemic has forced us to adapt to virtual models of course delivery,” says Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning) John Pierce. “Even once it is safe to return to in-person instruction, the new materials created by this funding will support the teaching and learning environment at Queen’s for years to come.”

The VLS funding enables Queen’s to produce a variety of new online educational resources, including full courses and training modules, that will benefit students at many levels and in many different areas of the university. The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science (FEAS), the Faculty of Arts and Science (FAS), the Faculty of Health Sciences, the Faculty of Education, the School of Graduate Studies, and the Regional Assessment and Resource Centre all submitted successful projects.

The digital educational material will teach students about a wide array of topics, including robotics, artificial intelligence, race and migration in Canada, and sustainability.

The funded projects will also support several areas of focus across the university, including equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigenization (EDII). One project, “Modular Supports for Underrepresented Individuals to Access Internships and Work Integrated Learning,” will create modules that can be strategically integrated into relevant programs across Ontario to improve equitable access and inclusivity. The project is a joint initiative from FEAS, FAS, Career Services, the Human Rights and Equity office, and external collaborators.

The Provincial Virtual Learning Strategy

The VLS initiative was announced in December 2020 as a $50 million investment by the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities intended to drive growth and advancement in virtual learning across the province’s post-secondary institutions.

eCampusOntario is a provincially-funded non-profit organization that leads a consortium of the province’s 48 publicly-funded colleges, universities, and Indigenous institutes to develop and test online learning tools to advance the use of education technology and digital learning environments.

Learn more about the VLS on the eCampusOntario website.

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